Credit: Flickr, IDreamLikeCrazy

In 2017, Amazon Prime Video declared it wanted its own Game of Thrones. They weren’t alone.

What followed was a tug-of-war over the only intellectual property that could compete: Lord of The Rings. Amazon won the battle, but their war has only just begun.

The challenge to produce a show that betters Peter Jackson’s trilogy is massive. That trio of films earned over $6 billion at the box office and won countless awards. Amazon’s talent for making great shows will be pushed.

With Lord of The Rings now in pre-production, this is what we currently know about Amazon Prime Video’s epic.

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A $250 million coup

Firstly, the tug-of-war victory over Netflix came at a premium. To attain the license, it cost Amazon $250 million, yet it could end up a bargain. After all, it is Lord of The Rings. The deal also came with certain requirements, a 5-season commitment and the need to be in production within two years. The deal was made in Q1 2018.

The $1 billion dollar show

Combining acquisition, production, and visual effects, the estimated cost of the Lord of The Rings series is $1 billion. In theory, this puts the show at $200 million per season, making it the most expensive show ever. For comparison, The Mandalorian Season 1 has cost Disney+ $100 million.

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The Second Age

Very little has been revealed about the show. What we know is that it is a distant prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings. It is set in the Second Age — back around the time when the rings of power were forged.

There have been rumors including that the show is about a young Aragon. However, these have been rubbished, so we return to the original press release and Amazon announcements for a best guess.

The team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.

Matt Galsor, original press release and a representative for the Tolkien Estate

I think you can know that we’re not remaking the movies, but we’re also not starting from scratch. So, it’ll be characters you love.

Jennifer Salke, Amazon Studios head

These comments confirm the following:

  • The series will not tell a story already explored on screen.
  • It will use characters people are familiar with.

As the series takes place in the Second Age, it is set long before The Fellowship of The Ring. Thus, this means the characters will likely include Sauron, Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf. Each of whom lived back in that age.

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A show without big names

The biggest news regarding cast is that actor, Will Poulter dropped out. Poulter played Gally in The Maze Runner and Colin Ritman in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. According to Variety, the actor pulled out because of “scheduling conflicts.

Names currently linked to the Lord of The Rings Amazon Prime Video series include:

  • Robert Aramayo, who was a young Ned Stark in Game of Thrones.
  • Joseph Mawle, who was Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones
  • Maxim Baldry, who was Viktor Goraya in Years and Years
  • Ema Horvath, who was Shell in Like.Share.Follow
  • Markella Kavenagh, who was Cindi in Romper Stomper
  • Owain Arthur, who was Sean Memory in A Confession
  • Nazanin Boniadi, who was Fara Sherazi in Homeland
  • Tom Budge, who was Ronnie Gibson in The Pacific
  • Morfydd Clark, who was Sister Clara in His Dark Materials
  • Ismael Cruz Córdova, who was Rafael Torres in Berlin Station
  • Megan Richards, who was Mimi Brooks in Wanderlust
  • Dylan Smith, who was Jenkins in Into the Badlands
  • Charlie Vickers, who was Guglielmo in Medici
  • Daniel Weyman, who was Max Thorndycke in Silent Witness
  • Tyroe Muhafidin, who has no IMDB credits.
  • Sophia Nomvete, who has no IMDB credits.

The creative team

While the cast is still taking shape, the creative team is in place. These are the people with the responsibility of making this $1 billion show:

  • John D. Payne and Patrick McKay (Star Trek: Beyond) are the showrunners.
  • J.A. Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), director of episodes 1 and 2.
  • Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), executive producer
  • Sharon Tal Yguado (The Listener), executive producer
  • Lindsey Weber (The Cloverfield Paradox), executive producer
  • Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones), consulting producer
  • Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad), writer
  • Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), writer
  • Justin Doble (Stranger Things), writer
  • Helen Shang (Hawaii Five-O), writer
  • Kate Hawley (The Hobbit), costume designer
  • Rick Heinrichs (Sleepy Hollow), production designer and Academy Award winner
  • Jason Smith (Warcraft), visual effects supervisor and Academy Award winner
  • John Howe (Lord of The Rings trilogy), concept artist
  • Tom Sheffey, Tolkien Scholar.

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Schedule: Pre-production only

Pre-production is underway in Auckland, New Zealand, and the schedule will see the first two episodes filmed followed by a four- to five-month hiatus. To clarify, the hiatus will be used to review episodes and plan the second season, which has already been renewed. The show’s estimated premiere is 2021.

So, as new information becomes available about Amazon Prime Video’s Lord of The Rings, this article will be updated. Until then, it’ll be fascinating to see how it all unfolds.